Israel to Lift Jenin Sanctions, but Only After West Bank Curfew for Passover

Ban on Israeli Arabs entering the Palestinian city, imposed after attacks, will end after Saturday, but officials will reconvene to consider whether it should be resumed

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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An elderly Palestinian man is pictured at a market in the refugee camp of Jenin, in the West Bank, last week.
An elderly Palestinian man is pictured at a market in the refugee camp of Jenin, in the West Bank, last week.Credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH - AFP
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Israel announced on Thursday it will end the ban on its citizens entering the West Bank city of Jenin, but only after a curfew is imposed on the entire West Bank on Friday evening and through Saturday, which are Passover Eve and the first day of the Jewish holiday.

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The government announced that Israelis would be forbidden from going to Jenin on Saturday after a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv, the third recent attack or attempted attack perpetrated by someone from Jenin. Israeli Jews have been forbidden to enter Palestinian Authority territory for years, but until now, Israeli Arabs have been allowed to enter freely. 

The decision to reopen the city was made in a meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the heads of the country’s security agencies on Thursday – a month after Israel chose not to impose a curfew on the West Bank for the holiday of Purim for the first time in five years. 

Israel usually imposes a curfew for the High Holy Days, Passover, and Purim during which Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza cannot enter Israel, except for approved humanitarian cases. In previous years, this has continued for four days. 

Israeli army soldiers take part in a military operation in Jenin, this week.Credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH - AFP

Crossings at the border of the Gaza Strip will be closed during the same period – between Friday at 4 P.M. and midnight at the end of Saturday. After that, officials will reconvene for a situation assessment to consider whether it might be necessary to extend the West Bank curfew and Gaza crossing closures beyond Saturday.

Sunday will be Easter, as well as the second day of Passover and roughly the mid-point of Ramadan. 

On Saturday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced several new restrictions in response to the spate of attacks.

Aside from the ban on Israeli Arabs entering Jenin, residents of the city have been barred from visiting relatives in Israel over Ramadan, businesspeople from Jenin have been banned from entering Israel and paving material can no longer pass through the checkpoints around the city. The ban on businesspeople will also be lifted on Sunday, the military’s announcement of the decision said. 

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